Greetings Bredren! Good to see di I keeping the vibes flowing! 😊;;;;;;
The name “Mami Wata,” was believed by Western scholars to be a derivative either directly from pidgin English, or is an anglicize version of the two words “mommy/mammy” and “water.” However, though phonetically similar to the English words, the name “Mami Wata” does not have its linguistic roots nor any cultural, mythological or historical origins in the West.
Mami Wata are ancient, African deities whose primordial origins and name can be traced linguistically through the languages of Africa. According to some renowned scholars, the name “Mami Wata” was originally formulated in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and is derived from a composite of two African words, “Mami,” and “Wata.” Both words are rooted in the ancient Egyptian and Ethiopian (Coptic), Galla and Demotic languages.
“Mami” is derived from “Ma” or ”Mama,” meaning “truth/wisdom,” and “Wata” is a corruption of not an English, but the ancient Egyptian word “Uati,” (or "Uat-ur" meaning ocean water), and the Khosian ("Hottentot") "Ouata" meaning “water.” Further, we discover from Mesopotamian myths that the first great water goddess in the story of the Creation Flood was known as "Mami," (Mami Aruru) as she was known in ancient Babylonian prayers as being the creator of human life (Dalley 2000, p. 51-16, Stone 1976, p. 7,219).
“Uati” is perhaps the first of more than ten thousand appellations of Isis (logos/wisdom) in her oldest generative form as the Divine African Mother, or Sibyl (Mamissii/Amengansie) prophetess. Furthermore, Massey (1994, p. 248) informs us that the word “Wata, Watoa, Wat-Waat” which means “woman,” are all exact spellings in the ancient Sudanic languages spoken by the Baba, Peba and Keh-Doulan groups.
In ancient Egypt, Uati was Isis’ oldest appellation, and was the first Mami goddess worshiped by the Egyptians as “the Holy Widow”, “the Genitrix,” the “Self-Creator”, “the one who reigned alone in the beginning”, “the one who brings forth the gods,” “she who was mateless”, and “the Virgin (meaning ‘unmarried’) Mother.” Thus, we have Isis originally worshiped as “Mama Uati” in ancient Egypt, and as Mami (Uati/Aruru) in ancient Mesopotamia, where she is first addressed and immortalized in prose by the gods. (Massey 1992, p. 204, 227).
Mami Uati, is an ancient and sacred name which remarkably, after thousands of years, has survived as “Mami Wata,” in West African Vodoun and other African religious systems, having changed little in its original phonetic form.
In Togo, West Africa, and in the United States, the priestesses of Mami Wata are called Mamisii (Mamissi, Mamaissii, Mammisi). Certain paths of high-priestesses who are called to open an Egbé (spirit house) are known as "Mamaissii-Hounons" which translates as “queen of the ship,” or literally “mother wisdom” (Alapini 1955, Massey 1994, p. 227, Rosenthal 1998, p. 116-117).
This is an ancient name probably having its etymological roots in ancient Egypt, where we find the name Mammisi meaning “motherhood temple,” as the sacred shrine where the queen/ priestesses gives birth to spirit. (Walker 1983, p. 572-573).